Allison Sommers, a military brat, hails from nowhere in particular and calls Brooklyn home. She has a degree in history and a bike named Pequod.
Q1. Tell us a bit about your work.
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was tiny, and it’s been something by which I define myself since then. My work is pretty escapist– I’ve been running away to those la-la lands ever since I started drawing them…
Q2. How do you approach starting a new project?
Everything is born in a sketchbook, somehow or another– perhaps a scrap from here, a bit from there, all cobbled together in a “finished” painting. I draw every day to keep my brain working and my worlds alive.
Q3. Weapon of choice (favorite materials)?
Pencil and gouache.
Q4. Do you have a favourite place outside of your workspace that you like to go to sketch?
I’ll draw absolutely anywhere– I’m very impatient and fiddly and allergic to being bored, so if I have a pencil and a scrap of something I will be using both to fill up free time (on the train, in waiting rooms, at restaurants, etc). My sketchbook is the workspace, in a sense– the other surroundings are unimportant.
My sketchbook is the workspace, in a sense– the other surroundings are unimportant.
Q5. Your favourite procrastination pastime?
Getting sucked into the internet, just like everyone else. Sigh. I’ve been working very hard to keep my procrastination down– I make rules like “no internet after 8pm” and “only an hour a day” that I break as soon as I make them.
Q6. What do you like to listen to while you’re working?
Depends on on what I’m working– I’m “allowed” to watch things on my computer if I’m in tedious low-thought stages of a painting (laying in backgrounds, painting hair, that sort of stuff), podcasts when I can’t be visually distracted, and music when I’m thinking and drawing. I’ve been rediscovering classical music lately– the weird stuff. Schoenberg and the like.
Q7. What are some of your sources of inspiration?
My surroundings have been showing up a lot more in my work lately than I thought they would– I’ve been in New York over a year now and there are so many new characters and thoughts I’ve been working out in my paintings that never appeared before. (lots of pigeons.) I’m also in the middle of an obsession with expressionism, which is working its way through my worlds as well.
Q8. If you weren’t a professional artist, what would you be doing?
Working with animals. Stables, training, vet assistant, that sort of thing.
Huge thanks to Allison for providing so many awesome photos and for taking the time to do this interview.
Dont forget to stop by Allison’s site!
All images ©2011 Allison Sommers